Until recently, there has been little in the way of clinically controlled study to prove anything about the proclaimed health benefits of marijuana. There have been a plethora of personal accounts and claims, but that is quite different than peer-reviewed unbiased scientific study. Well, that’s changing.

Now that cannabis is gaining ground legally, studies are being conducted, and for the most part, they are serving to consolidate and confirm claims of the weed’s quite magical medicinal power.

Take for example, this piece of research recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Granted, the title (Chronic Stress Impairs α1-Adrenoceptor-Induced Endocannabinoid-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus) is enough to put most people off, but let’s cut to the chase and see what exactly was concluded.

Cannabis and stress reduction

Doctor Samir Haj-Dahmane, one of the researchers on the study, says that chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression.  Endocannabinoids are chemical compounds in the brain, and they have an affect on cognition and emotions. What the researchers found, was that in animals, long-term stress reduces these naturally produced chemicals. When that happens, emotions change and depression is felt.

Haj-Dahmane, who works at the University of Buffalo’s, Research Institute on Addicitons, believes that the compounds derived from marijuana—the cannabinoids such as THC and CBD—effectively restore what would be considered a more normal operation in a person whose endocannabinoid system is not functioning as it usually would.

Therefore, cannabis could be used to restore a person’s endocannabinoid system, and the result could be an emotional shift away from depression and towards feeling happier.

The future of medicine?

Granted that studies such as this are in the early stages, and Haj-Dahmane has thus far only tested this theory on animals and not humans, but nonetheless the results look promising. Plus, we are only just getting started. Haj-Dahmane has further plans to see if CBD works to restore the normal emotional state in animals without creating dependance on the drug. Because, let’s face it, the notion of dependency is what the majority of people fear about weed, and it is also one of the rumors that is used against marijuana legalization.

Studies such as this, which are proving the connection between the endocannabinoid system and emotions are gaining steam. When science shows how cannabis can treat medical conditions such as depression without the side-effects associated with other pharmaceutical drugs, surely it will be irresponsible for the plant not to be made legal for use.

And when marijuana is used as a medication, travelers and tourists will want to continue this use while they are on vacations. In fact, there may soon be a time when they are under doctors orders to do so. We also know that the largest population of medical marijuana users are the Baby Boomers, and that these are also the people who have the most time to travel. Watching the industry trends and moving with them is just good business practice. Those who get left behind stand to lose out.

The travel industry will be under pressure to change as more research is published to prove the healing emotional and physical effects of cannabis, and accommodation hosts will need to seriously reconsider any pre-existing rules that they have around weed.

By Tabitha Farrar

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